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Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: Picking at the word salad of Dell EMC World

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 6:00pm

The word salad at Dell EMC World in Las Vegas last week included many of the likely suspects: hyperconvergence, infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT), digital transformation (with variants like IT and business transformation), cloud and its variants (public, private, hybrid, native), security and its variants (data, network, at rest, in flight), appliance, and, of course, the all-weather “solutions,” good for any season.

Ready to repair for the evening, perhaps to try to digest the first day’s lectures, we were all about to get up to leave. The mistress of ceremonies had just half-excused the room, and many people jumped at the chance. I was rather slow getting about it and so happened to be there still when, tacked on at the end, was the best act of the day: OTTO Motors. OTTO was featured as a Customer Spotlight with a sorry slot right at cocktail hour. Their head of IT, Greg Jacobs, battled on nobly. And we lingerers got to hear.

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Categories: Opinion

Google is reportedly eyeing an iOS Assistant app as it fires new salvo in the AI wars

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 5:52pm

The battle for AI supremacy is no longer about which device you want to buy. First Microsoft’s Cortana made the leap from Windows to the Android lock screen, and Android followed up by integrating Alexa into its shopping app. But now things are starting to get really interesting as Google reportedly readies a major push onto iOS.

According to Android Police, Google is planning to release a standalone Assistant app on iOS, with an announcement possibly coming at I/O this week. According to the report, “The app would likely feature a blend of the “chat” style functionality in the Google Allo version of Assistant and the voice-controlled version found on Android,” but site cautions that “details are scant.”

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Categories: Opinion

Ransomware makes healthcare wannacry

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 5:48pm

Around 200,000 systems have been hit by the malware WannaCry, resulting in doctors being blocked from gaining access to patient files and forcing emergency rooms to send people away.

Despite Microsoft sending out a patch for the vulnerability a few months ago, those unpatched Windows XP and Server 2003 systems were the culprit of the mass ransomware worm spread around the world. It only took one click of a link in an email to send mass hysteria through many organizations.

“Healthcare organizations are particularly vulnerable to these attacks because awareness about email authentication is still quite low in the sector as a whole. In order to protect the nation’s healthcare infrastructure from future ransomware attacks, we encourage all security executives to ensure their organizations have proper email authentication at enforcement,” said ValiMail CEO Alexander Garcia-Tobar. “It only takes a click from one person to endanger an entire enterprise.”

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Categories: Opinion

What to do about WannaCry if you’re infected or if you’re not

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 5:46pm

Today is likely to be painful for many organizations all over the world that took the weekend off and are returning to the work-week to find hundreds or thousands of computers on their networks encrypted by WannaCry ransomware, which surfaced Friday and has been propagating ever since.

[ Related: 8 ways to manage an internet or security crisis ]

Estimates by law enforcement agency Europol estimated yesterday that more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries were infected, but with the worm continuing to spread to vulnerable Windows machines, that number will surely rise.

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Categories: Opinion

Samsung to detail new Tizen OS for smart home appliances, IoT devices

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 5:45pm

In the future, your Samsung vacuum cleaner, robot or washing machine will run on an OS called Tizen RT, slated to be introduced and detailed on Tuesday.

The OS for smart devices and gadgets -- in other words, internet of things (IoT) devices -- will be introduced by Samsung at its Tizen Developers Conference, which will be held in San Francisco starting Tuesday.

Samsung will share the architecture and future release schedule for Tizen RT at the conference. A number of sessions are being held on how to deploy and update the OS across devices.

The real-time OS is a slimmed-down version of the mainstream Tizen OS, which is being used in Samsung TVs, smartphones, Gear smartwatches and other devices. Though it is an open-source OS, Samsung is its biggest backer.

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Categories: Opinion

Google moves Android out of the app and into the auto with Volvo, Audi partnerships

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 4:55pm

Over the past year or so, Android Auto been stuck in neutral. Even by removing the car requirement and making Android Auto a standalone app, the initiative hasn’t really picked up speed. We’re still waiting for most of our favorite apps to join the fray (including Waze, which was promised at last year’s I/O), and for the most part, Android Auto hasn’t really advanced beyond its initial concept.

However, a new partnership with Audi and Volvo aims to kick it into high gear. According to a blog post, Google is taking Android Auto out of our phones and putting it directly into our cars with a full-on Android dashboard. We first got a pie-in-the-sky peek at an Android-powered Maserati at I/O last year, but now Google is serious about delivering on its vision. 

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: The NHS ransomware event and security challenges for the U.S healthcare system

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 4:41pm

Which industry went from nearly zero to 1 billion dollars in 2016? If you guessed ransomware, you would be right. Ransomware payments were expected to hit $1 billion in 2016, according to the FBI. The malware that affected over 100,000 organizations last weekend in 150 countries may have delivered that kind of revenue in a single day to the cyberattackers.

Late last week, reports emerged of a large-scale ransomware attack against the U.K’s NHS hospitals that impacted nearly 50 hospitals; it was later confirmed to be part of a larger international cyberattack. Reports emerged of hospitals turning away ambulances because they feared being unable to treat patients. Hospitals had lost the use of landlines and internet connections, and several hospitals in the U.K confirmed receiving demands for ransomware payments in bitcoin, with deadlines for compliance.

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Categories: Opinion

MP3 audio quietly fades into history

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 4:27pm

Neil Young and opinionated sound engineers everywhere have a reason to smile: The organization responsible for the MP3 audio format is closing the doors on its licensing program.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits recently announced that it and Technicolor would no longer license “patents and software” for the MP3 format. The licensing program officially ended on April 23.

“We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades,” the Fraunhofer Institute said. “Most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as AAC and MPEG-H...those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.”

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Categories: Opinion

Will Windows 10-on-ARM PCs support Mixed Reality headsets?

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 4:22pm

A Windows-on-ARM PC is getting closer to reality. Microsoft showed off a prototype mini-desktop with an ARM processor running Windows 10 at last week's Build conference, with the PC running applications like Office.

The PC was shown in a video posted on the Channel 9 website. The presenters reinforced Microsoft's previous message saying that all x86 applications will work on Windows-on-ARM PCs.

Microsoft has maintained that the experience on Windows 10-on-ARM PCs will be similar to x86 laptops, but many questions remain. One revolves around whether Windows 10-on-ARM PCs will support Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: Review: Galago Pro is a Linux laptop for professionals

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 4:13pm

There used to be a time when buying a new laptop was a huge undertaking for a Linux user. It required a lot of pre-sales research to ensure that the system you were going to buy would work with Linux, ‘with’ a workaround or extra effort.

Linux has come a long way, thanks to the efforts of the kernel community, especially Greg Kroah-Hartman who works with hardware vendors to add support for Linux. Nowadays, in most case, everything just works.

This improved support for Linux has encouraged hardware vendors to offer systems with Linux pre-installed, creating a niche, yet growing market for some companies. Denver-based, System76 is one such company that has made its name by offering a wide range of Ubuntu powered systems. 

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: Municipal shared services agreements for information technology

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Countywide Shared Services Initiative “requires counties to assemble local governments to find efficiencies for real, recurring taxpayer savings... by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and propose coordinated services to enhance purchasing power.”[i] New York is currently offering substantial financial incentives to municipal organizations that “create savings.”

According to a 2013 study[ii], about 8 percent of municipalities participate in IT shared services programs. Considering the financial incentives, I suspect that the percentage has increased significantly since that time.

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: Should Apple News be released for macOS?

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 3:40pm

There was a great deal of excitement when the Apple News app was first released for iOS. Apple got a ton of media coverage and Apple News quickly became a useful tool for many iOS users.

But is it now time for Apple News to come to macOS?

This question recently came up in a thread on the Apple subreddit, and the folks there didn’t pull any punches in sharing their opinions about it.

I’ll share my thoughts below, but here’s a sample of the comments posted in the Reddit thread:

Wakaawak started the thread with this post:

I just mocked this up and thought it'd be pretty good to see the latest headlines on my computer.

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Categories: Opinion

Google readies Duo, Assistant integration as its elevation of Allo continues

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 3:39pm

With I/O just around the corner, there are signs that Google is preparing Allo to take a central role in its increasingly convoluted messaging strategy. First, we got chat backups and link previews, then the ability to create custom stickers based on our selfies. But there might be some new changes on the horizon that could elevate it even further.

In their teardown of the most recent APK, Android Police and 9to5Google have uncovered some interesting tidbits that could put Allo in a much more prominent position on Android phones. Most notably, 9to5Google has discovered new buttons in Allo that allow you to place Duo calls right inside the app. According to the code, there will be a Duo icon at the top of all conversations that will initiate a video call when tapped.

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Categories: Opinion

Lyft riders may get early taste of self-driving tech from Google's Waymo

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 1:44pm

Cars driving for ride-hailing service Lyft may soon sport lidar sensors alongside the pink logo and Amp dash display.

The company is teaming up with Alphabet's Waymo subsidiary, the autonomous vehicle business spun out of Google. 

Details on the deal, reported by the New York Times and later confirmed by the two companies, are vague.

Under the deal, the companies will work together on pilot projects and product development efforts to make autonomous vehicles mainstream, the newspaper said, citing two anonymous sources.

But Lyft has made no secret of its interest in self-driving vehicle technology.

Last March General Motors invested US$500 million in the company and then in May said they would work together to test self-driving electric Chevrolet Bolts on the roads.

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: 5 machine learning trends that will define 2017

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 12:29pm

Machine learning has been quietly working in the background for years, powering mobile applications and search engines. But recently it has become a more widely circulated buzzword, with virtually all recent technological advancements involving some aspect of machine learning. An impressive rise in data and computing capabilities has made this exponential progress possible. 

The remarkable growth in sophistication and applications of machine learning will define the technological trends of 2017. Their effects will depend on whether the application adds value and benefits to society as a whole and whether it has the potential to solve real world problems. Here are the five major trends that will define machine learning in 2017.

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: Can you teach ethics to algorithms?

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 12:00pm

When people think of the ethical issues surrounding algorithms and AI, too many of us think of killer robots or movies like “The Matrix.” But plenty of reasonable people are now rightly concerned that algorithms, far from being unbiased, can be used to perpetuate unjust or racist results.

Last May, ProPublica published an article declaring that, “There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.” ProPublica went on to detail how an algorithm used by parole boards to predict whether a criminal would re-offend was more likely to give bad scores to blacks than whites. There are plenty of other examples of algorithms which crank out ethically problematic results.

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: If it is worth doing, it is worth automating

CIO.com - Opinion - May 15, 2017 - 12:00pm
Pete and Repeat were walking across a bridge. Pete fell in. Who was left? Repeat. Pete and Repeat were walking across a bridge. Pete fell in. Who was left? Repeat. Pete and Repeat...

Traditional joke from third grade

Endless repetition gets boring. If you find you are doing the same thing every day, you might consider automating it. I ran across an iPhone/iPad app called IFTTT, which stands for "If this, then that." In a nutshell, it allows you to automate activities based on certain events. For example:

  • Email me if it is going to rain today.
  • Mail me the closing price of a stock.
  • Send me a neat picture from NASA every morning.
  • Email me yesterday's airport delays.
  • Send me my position on a leaderboard.

None of these items alone are earth-shattering, but the ability to reduce the effort to get access to information is worthwhile. The examples above were all individually-focused items and, although they may make life a little more interesting, they were not game-changers for me. If the effort to automate a task is sufficiently low, however, then then value of the task does not have to be phenomenal.

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Categories: Opinion

How CISOs can answer difficult questions from CEOs

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 11:42am

The CEO puts all the trust in the chief security officer to keep the company off the front page and out of danger. But as the number of attacks across the internet skyrockets, that trust has slowly eroded or at the very least is increasingly questioned.

CEOs don’t want to be caught off-guard, so they are asking pointed questions to ensure they know what security precautions are being taken. Here is a hypothetical Q&A between a CEO or board member and the CISO. Lucas Moody, vice president and CISO at Palo Alto Networks, and Dottie Schindlinger, Governance Technology Evangelist at Diligent, provided insight with these interactions.

CEO: Why are we getting more phishing attacks? And what are we doing about all these phishing attacks?

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Categories: Opinion

Escape from Flatland: Microsoft’s new UI approach

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 11:00am

With the Fluent Design System, Microsoft is looking to accommodate rich, immersive experiences across devices, including in iOS and Android via apps. Microsoft will roll out Fluent Design capabilities in multiple phases. Developers will get the technology after it has already been tested in real-world solutions.

"We're going from a flat design language ... into the immersive, multidimensional one," said Bojana Ostojic, principal design manager in the Windows devices group. "We're going from small screen and touch to now appreciate the full range of devices and input types, and we're moving beyond just consumption and communication into also creativity and curation."

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Categories: Opinion

Do iPhones get viruses?

CIO.com - News - May 15, 2017 - 7:50am

Many of our readers wonder if iPhones get viruses. After all, iPhones are famous for their strong security; any time rival fanboys have an argument about whether iPhones or Android smartphones are better, the superior security of the iOS platform is bound to come up. (To be fair, Android phones are pretty secure too.)

When iPhone users ask us if their device has been infected by a virus, we generally explain that this is unlikely. There are more plausible explanations for odd behaviour: you may, for example, be seeing a misbehaving advert in one or more apps you use regularly, triggering behaviour that is intended to convince you that iOS is infected and you need to download an app to fix it, or redirecting you to a dodgy web page or a dodgy app on the App Store.

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Categories: Opinion

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